I started physical therapy for my neck this week. I am paying for it all on my own, which means May in general is getting really expensive. But it reminded me of a tidbit of advice I’d forgotten to share in my earlier post.

When you get a job that has benefits, look through everything carefully before deciding on which plan you want for health insurance. Many insurance companies have something called a Flexible Spending Account, or FSA. It allows you to set aside some amount of money that is not taxed and you can only get at for medical reasons. Often, this comes in the form of something akin to a pre-paid credit card. So, for example, that co-pay for the doctor’s office? The amount you have to actually pay the pharmacy for your prescriptions? Try to add up all of the things you think you’d like to have money set aside for. Look at the list of items your insurance provider will cover within the FSA. Sometimes this includes Tylenol, ice packs, contact lenses and/or solution, etc. Basically, whatever number you come up with, add a little more for unexpected costs like getting sick, when you’ll need a little more. This amount, over the year, will be taken from your paycheck. So, you get paid a little less but you know those things you need are covered. It’s a sweet deal if you work it the right way. Just remember to use it all – usually what you haven’t used by the end of the year goes up in smoke.

Unfortunately, I did not enroll in mine this year (bad timing), and it would have been nice to my own monthly spending if I had.

As for physical therapy, it is only covered (in part) after I reach a certain deductible, which is more than the total sum of all the PT sessions.

Tom-ay-toh, tom-ah-toe. I’ll deal with it. Just means I can’t save much this month.

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